New World Sourdough is a 2020 cookbook by Bryan Ford. I will not be reproducing Ford’s recipes in my blog. Read his blog, buy his book, support his work.
Pretzel rolls make people excited. If you want to see someone’s eyes light up, tell them you are going to make pretzel rolls. After making Artisan Bryan’s pretzel roll recipe, I have a new appreciation for them.
I made a change to the makeup of my Bradley the Starter’s flour food. Instead of 50/50 whole wheat/AP flour, it is now 33/33/33 whole wheat/AP/rye flour. The plan is to increase the rye content, following the advice of many bakers (including Artisan Bryan) who swear by the excellence of a rye starter.
This recipe has a very long proofing time, plus the additional step of boiling. As always, I had to write out my breadule in order to wrap my mind around it.
The pretzel dough kneaded together quickly and satisfactorily. The small amounts of enriching butter and sugar kept the dough smooth.
Dedicated fans know that I love to shape bread into boules or rolls, and these little balls of dough shaped like a dream. I jump at the chance to roll a dozen little fellas at a time.
Making pretzels involves boiling the proofed rolls before baking, just like bagels. Thanks to my bagel experience, I was prepared to avoid certain errors. I made sure the water was at a high boil before adding the chilled rolls. This keeps the water temperature from dropping too much, leaving the dough floating aimlessly and soaking up unwanted liquid.
Instead of transferring boiled rolls directly from the water to the baking sheet (soaking the parchment paper and pooling water on the pan), I briefly drained them on a wire rack. I took this moment to add a few Maldon sea salt flakes for extra crunch. As I learned from my pie class, I added the salt before scoring to keep it from inadvertently infiltrating the crumb. My knife wasn’t as sharp as I would like. A lame would have slid through the rolls more cleanly.
These rolls delighted every sense. The crust had a perfect pretzel bite. The center was soft and pillowy, with the satisfying pretzel chew. They smelled and tasted like an Oktoberfest miracle.
Almost better than the eating, is the looking. These rolls are so small and tiny and cute and handheld–they deserve cooing and admiration.
These pretzel rolls would make fun sliders, but I just ate them out of hand. Put them on the side of any meal, dip them in mustard, or feed them to squirrels and take cute photos. They are truly versatile and worth the effort.